Maybe the Yankees should bench struggling rookie Aaron Judge for a few days. It certainly seems to be working for the Red Sox’s Andrew Benintendi.
After sitting out back-to-back games, the rookie outfielder has caught fire, and the Yankees have seen the results first hand.
Benintendi blasted two three-run homers Saturday off Luis Severino, powering the Red Sox to a bounce-back 10-5 victory over the Yankees in The Bronx. With the victory, just Boston’s fourth in 11 meetings with the Yankees, the Red Sox extended their AL East lead to 4 ¹/₂ games entering Sunday night’s rubber match.
“He’s been right in the middle of a lot of offensive big innings,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Today, two beautiful swings for the six RBIs against a guy we haven’t done a whole lot against.
“More than anything, pitches he’s gotten on the plate he hasn’t missed.”
Benintendi, 23, became the youngest Red Sox player to drive in six runs in a game against the Yankees. His 15th and 16th homers of the year also made him the franchise’s first with multiple three-run homers in a game against the Yankees since Jimmie Foxx in 1938.
He entered the series 5-for-31 against the Yankees this year, with nine strikeouts and one RBI. But through the first two games, he has homered three times, and he single-handedly turned Saturday into a rout.
In the third inning, he jumped on a 97 mph fastball from Severino to give the Red Sox their first lead of the day, at 5-2. In the fifth, he hammered a flat slider into the right-field bleachers, to the left of the Judge’s Chambers. He now is 6-for-11 lifetime against Severino.
“You know whatever’s coming is going to be hard,” Benintendi said. “It’s not easy to make an adjustments, but velocity kind of helps.”
Benintendi sat out games on July 31 and Aug. 1, and since then, has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball. He hit safely in seven of his past eight games, with six multi-hit performances, four homers, 11 RBIs and a .483 (15-for-31) average in that span.
“There was some frustration from not doing well,” he said. “I kind of sat back, watched a game and relaxed. I think it was beneficial.”